Writer, Church leader, Eccentric Nut, Marketer

I'm Church Leader, Writer, Speaker, Marketer, Kindness Project Founder, Broadcaster and Superhero. But most important I'm a Husband, Father and a worshiper of Jesus.

27 October 2008

Is Pinball Canada's Obama?


Royson James of the Toronto Star wrote an amazing article yesterday about Pinball Clemons that told what is truly an inspiring story... it's just not the story they set out to tell.

The world has NO IDEA how to handle a Christian who lives life for Jesus as a normal, humble, kind, influential, passionate, purposeful man... and who combines it with extraordinary community service. They'll assume it's to achieve a high status or it's laced with some evangelical ulterior motive. In this case, they've found a guy who is so GOOD that a city and country is trying to make him be the chief administrator... even though he's thriving spreading "hope" in other ways. Here are some highlights:

He's not running for public office. He doesn't need these people – their votes or their adoration – but his very presence is infectious.

A Star journalist watched him open doors for strangers, initiate conversations with doormen and executives, defer to others, go crazy with juiced Tampa Bay Buccaneers fans, ingratiate himself to seldom-seen relatives at a tailgate party, worry over his sister and deliver a 90-minute speech to a tough crowd of salespeople in Orlando for their motivational conference.

It is easy to understand why political headhunters drool over the prospects of his candidacy.


Richard Morris, manager of the city's energy efficiency office and a friend, says while Clemons is a grassroots kind of guy, it's the country, not just the city, that needs him.

"His influence is global. This guy could ... listen, Barack Obama has nothing on Mike Clemons, as far as I am concerned," says Morris who's helped politicians organize in the same Chicago precincts where the U.S. presidential hopeful Obama cut his political teeth.

"Mike's about hope, just like Obama. He needs some federal office to lead us to a broader horizon."

"I was always a more serious person than I was represented as," says Clemons, who's in the process of becoming a Canadian citizen. "I'm jovial and smile all the time; I take things lightly so people think you're a lightweight. People who don't know me don't know that I have an opinion.

"Everything is not okay with me."

He's a committed Christian, husband, father – in that order – and he takes them all seriously.

The problem is, public office isn't something he craves.

He's told every day, he says, and in many ways, that he's a natural for it, that he could run through mayoral candidates the way he's juked and evaded massive linemen intent on doing him serious damage on the football field. He jokes that the only political parties that haven't wooed him are the Green party and Bloc Québécois.

"I'm uncomfortable with it. My job is to support our mayor, police chief and different stakeholders – support, not be combative. So I don't take it seriously and hope the mayor doesn't take it in that vein.""If I do it, it would be out of responsibility; it would not be out of desire.

Clemons quickly reverts to safe ground. It's the little deeds of community service that build society, not the monumental mission of political service, he says. What good is being a big shot politician if you abuse your wife and kids, or don't hold a door open for someone or smile at people.

"It's the little things that make a person," he says. "Everything else has at least a hint of selfishness in it. What you do when someone isn't watching is what you are."

"Right now my heart is with the kids in the priority neighbourhoods."As chair of the Youth Challenge Fund, Pinball manages the $30 million the Ontario government pledged to help such neighbourhoods escape the scourge of crime and poverty. He has also helped transform the Argos into a community-minded sports franchise,

When you put people first, you always win." It seems like a perfect maxim for a politician to live by."


...or a person to live by. I want to go back to a verse from Matthew 22 that I've been thinking a lot about

37Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.

38This is the first and great commandment.

39And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

40On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.


In the Greek the words "unto it" translate out to mean more like "until". Love the Lord with all you heart UNTIL you love your neighbour as yourself. YES!

I'm sure there are a Christian groups that want Pinball to drop his passion for the neighborhood and become a Pastor. It's the logical progression right?

Not necessarily. God made Pinball with a unique calling that pastoring a church could very well stifle.

Then there are the MANY in Canada that want him to be a political figure and just let all his GOOD explode out and ooze over the country. It's the logical progression for someone who is influencial with people and actually serves right? Not necessarily. God made Pinball with a unique calling that being Prime Minister could very well stifle.

I mean... maybe he is destined to be Prime Minister. I'd vote for him! Heck... I might even go to his church! But more than anything... I wanna be like Mike. Cus Mike really really loves the Lord his God and is subsequently loving his neighbour as himself. And legit hope is spilling out of it... and it's pointing to Jesus. Christ in me is the hope of glory.

Pinball's living my life. Your life. He's a wonderful beacon of what an activated, empowered, annointed Christian can look like.

I suppose in some ways... he is Canada's Obama. Although in Obama's case, people are putting their hope in one person who represents and idea. In Canada... I'm putting my hope the kind of person that Pinball is. A nation of unselfish people who are givers as a lifestyle.

1 comment:

Eric said...

As great as Pinball is for Canada, he's an American, so he won't be Prime Minister anytime soon

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